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Cleaning a Cast Iron Pan - Using water and electricity

DanMcG

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Positioned the skillet as close to the positive plate as I could without letting them touch.
I clean a lot of auto parts this way and it works great.
I will separate large parts and the electrodes using some of that orange plastic construction fence. Something small like your pan would need something with a finer mesh, but it lets you get your part with in a fraction of an inch of the electrode with out touching.
 

millerbuilds

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Great idea, I will try that next time.

Smoke ON!

- Jason
 

bill1

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I realize this is a long-dormant thread but I gotta' ask...which part gets the positive electrode and which gets the negative?
 

millerbuilds

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I realize this is a long-dormant thread but I gotta' ask...which part gets the positive electrode and which gets the negative?
I put the positive on the plate and the negative on the Pan. I have not tried it the other way, but it has worked well for me.

- Jason
 

DanMcG

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Positive on the sacrificial metal and your part gets the negative. the rust flows to the positive side.
electrolysis is only good for rust, not degreasing ..
 

bill1

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Thanks Jason and Dan. Now I understand...it's basically corrosion/rusting in reverse:

Rusting liberates electrons from the pan to oxidize Fe to Fe2+, the electrons are used to reduce O2 and water to hydroxide ions (OH-) which then combine with the pan's iron ions to form iron oxide--rust. So if electrons leave the pan to rust it, the pan is positive. Jason, if you were to put the positive terminal on the pan, and potentially supply 10's of amperes of current, you would greatly accelerate normal rusting, a bad thing.

So this electrolysis is rusting-in-reverse, requiring a negative terminal on the pan. It's actually moving Fe from the rust molecules (even if hidden under years of cooking gunk) back onto the metal surface of the pan, healing it so to speak, while liberating water. Pretty cool!

Although it might be more scientifically elegant to do this than grinding, sanding, acid etching, or otherwise removing the iron oxide to get to the base metal, then again CI pans are pretty sturdy so they can afford to lose a little material.

I learn a lot on this forum! :-)
 

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